Practicing good oral hygiene isn’t something that comes naturally to children. It is something that must be taught. If you are struggling to get your child on board, take a look at these 8 tips to help teach them how to take care of their teeth and gums for the rest of their life.
Tip #1: Be a Good Example
Children love to imitate their parents. By practicing a good daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing, you will be showing your children exactly what they need to do to keep their mouth healthy.
Tip #2: Establish the Importance of Eating a Healthy Diet
What you eat is just as important as making sure you floss and brush teeth on a daily basis. Start establishing healthy eating habits, such as eating sugary treats in moderation and choosing non-sugary drinks like water or milk when your child is young. If you establish these habits at a young age, your child will be more likely to continue practicing them as they get older.
Tip #3: Give Small Rewards
Giving your child small rewards, such as a sticker, very small toy, or a chance to watch a favorite movie, for brushing and flossing can provide the positive encouragement your child needs to establish healthy daily oral hygiene habits. You can create a reward system that makes sense in your house, maybe if they brush and floss twice a day for a whole week straight they get a reward, and so on. Whatever route you take, encouragement, especially in the beginning, can help make establishing the habit that much easier.
Tip #4: Use Kid-Friendly Dental Products
Dental product manufacturers create an entire collection of kid-friendly dental products. Everything from toothbrushes and toothpastes to mouthwashes and dental floss can come in brightly colored packages that feature your child’s favorite TV or movie characters. Consider purchasing these products to make brushing and flossing fun for your child.
Tip #5: Take a Tour of a Local Dental Office
Touring a local dental office not only provides your child with valuable information on how to improve their oral health, but it helps familiarize them with the dentist, the dental staff, and the dental office. While any dentist can provide a tour of their office, it is often best to schedule a tour with the dentist your child will be seeing on a regular basis. This will help introduce your child to their dentist and help them feel comfortable around them.
Tip #6: Be Consistent with Your Dental Hygiene Routine
It might get tiring every day to keep up with not only your own oral hygiene routine, but your child’s too. However, it is important that you stay consistent and keep it up every day. Consistency will help your child establish healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
Tip #7: Let Your Child Brush Your Teeth
Children as old as seven may need help brushing and flossing their teeth. Unfortunately, children are not always cooperative with allowing you to brush their teeth for them. If you happen to have a child who is reluctant to let you brush their teeth, consider letting them brush your teeth for you.
Allowing your child to brush your teeth will give them some control over the situation. Your child will see what is being done. Once they see what will happen and become more familiar with the situation, they will eventually allow you to brush their teeth for them.
Tip #8: Ask for Help from Your Child’s Dentist
Dentists are always coming up with new and fun ways to teach children the importance of brushing and flossing. If you discover these tips and tricks aren’t working, feel free to ask your child’s dentist for advice. Your child’s dentist may be able to help you find a solution to encourage your child to brush and floss their teeth.
Have additional questions about how to encourage your child to brush and floss or need to schedule a dental exam for your child? Call First-in-Smiles Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Our friendly dental staff can help you by answering any questions you may have or scheduling an appointment for your child.